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Report: U.S. Vetoes Bid to Give Hizbullah 4 Ministries

The United States has informed parties involved in the formation of the government that it had “vetoed” giving Hizbullah and its allies four main portfolios, al-Liwaa daily reported Thursday.

The newspaper said that the vetoed ministries include the interior, defense, justice and telecommunications portfolios.

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Maronite Meeting Forms Committee to Follow Up on Decisions

The Maronite meeting at Bkirki stressed on Thursday the need to hold future meetings to continue discussions over how to “maintain Lebanon as an example for democracy and freedom.”

An agreement was reached to form a follow up committee to monitor the cooperation between them, announced Bishop Samir Mazloum who read the summit’s closing statement.

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Southern Border Declared ‘Closed Military Zone’

The Lebanese army has declared Fatima Gate and the barbed-wire fence along the southern border with Israel as a closed military zone.

A rally is expected to be staged on Sunday in commemoration of the Naksa Day to mark the anniversary of the 1967 Mideast war, in which Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem and Golan Heights.

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Ban Urges Italy to Maintain Current Presence in Lebanon

U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon has voiced hope that Italy will not draw down its peacekeeping force in Lebanon in the wake of the recent attack on its contingent in the south.

"I hope that Italy will maintain the current levels of its Lebanon contingent, in spite of the tragic attack on the Italian UNIFIL convoy," Ban told ANSA news agency on Wednesday.

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Jumblat, Miqati and Allies Deal Blow to June 8 Session

Head of the National Struggle Front bloc Walid Jumblat reportedly opposes a planned parliamentary session aimed at renewing the mandate of the Central Bank governor and might boycott the meeting on June 8.

Jumblat’s sources told As Safir daily on Thursday that the Druze leader prefers to resort to a “mobile draft-law” to renew Riyad Salameh’s mandate rather than holding a session amid the absence of a government.

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Suleiman Rejects Non-Consensual Parliamentary Session, Prefers ‘Mobile Draft-Law’

President Michel Suleiman has considered a move by Speaker Nabih Berri to hold a parliamentary session “non-consensual if a political team opposes it.”

His visitors told An Nahar daily published Thursday that the constitutional studies indicate that “mobile draft-laws” could be adopted and that “a cabinet session could also be constitutional to find a solution to pressing issues.”

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March 14 Rejects ‘Unprecedented Heresy’ of June 8 Parliamentary Session

The March 14 leadership has decided that the coalition’s MPs would boycott a parliamentary session called for by Speaker Nabih Berri on June 8 to take decisions on critical issues amid the absence of a government.

Sources close to the leaderships described attempts by Berri to release the agenda of the session as an “unprecedented heresy” in light of the rejection of five members of the parliament’s bureau committee for the concept of a legislative session.

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Miqati ‘Irrevocably’ Rules out Formation of Technocrat Cabinet

Premier-designate Najib Miqati has said that he “irrevocably ruled out the formation of a technocrat or de facto government” and reiterated that he rejects turning the cabinet into “provinces.”

Miqati confirmed to his visitors that several formulas have been suggested to end the government deadlock but blamed the large number of conditions for the delay in the formation of the cabinet.

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Geagea Warns Against Igniting South, North Fronts

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Wendesday stressed that “a parliamentary legislative session cannot be held amid the absence of a (new) government and the presence of a caretaker cabinet, because the parliament is a legislative and not an executive authority.”

Geagea warned of “the deteriorating economic situation in the country which is not being tackled by the officials.”

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Khalil Defends Berri, Accuses Hariri of ‘Rejecting Democracy, Militia Practices’

MP Ali Hassan Khalil, Speaker Nabih Berri’s political aide, on Wednesday lashed out at the March 14 camp, accusing some of its leaders of waging a “systematic campaign” against the house speaker.

“It seems that there is a systematic campaign … being waged by some of the leaders” of the March 14 camp “who are outside the country and are trying to respond to Speaker Berri’s remarks that ‘the Cedar Revolution has set Lebanon back 60 years,’” Khalil said.

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